Tuesday, January 6, 2009

US Army relaxes weight requirements

Ummm, I hate to tell the Army this but this just is not a good idea. Relaxing weight requirements to get bodies enlisted and then telling them they have a year to meet the stricter weight requirements to stay enlisted is setting people up for failure.
The recently-introduced waiver program allows enlistees who don't qualify for the military because of their weight a chance to shape up after joining. So far, the program has helped the Army make its recruiting goals in what remains a tight recruiting market.

Yeah, this is really going to work. Make those recruits exercise more and eat less. They might meet those regular standards, for a while. What happens when that weight loss can't be sustained? You're going to tell them to repeat the diet and exercise, they might lose the weight again, and how much harm are they doing to their health while trying to meet an arbitrary standard (BullshitMI), repeatedly? Is that really what you want? How about setting standards for what they are supposed to be able to do, and not bringing weight into it at all? Can they carry that field pack of 90 lbs of gear, wearing a 30 lb flak jacket and march however far they're going to have march in the field? If they can do that on field rations, then what does it matter if they're 5, or 10, or 15 lbs heavier than the BullshitMI chart says they should be?
The Army's weight waiver program rests largely on a distinction between individuals who are overweight or obese and those who are physically fit but whose "body mass index," or BMI, doesn't meet Army standards.
"The point is to get the football-player kinda kids. It's not to get the couch-potato kids," says Beth Asch, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation who studies military recruiting.

Ummmm, I hate to tell ya this, miss senior economist (which has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with nutrition or health), not all couch potato kids are fat. Some of them are thin, some are fat, some are in-between. Not all football-player kinda kids are in optimal shape either (neither are they all in bad health, but you can't tell a kid's health just by looking at them).
Excess weight is the chief reason many individuals can't enlist.
It's no secret that today's youths gobble up french fries and suck down Big Gulps. At the same time, fewer are getting exercise. The percentage of young adults considered obese – with a BMI greater than 30 – has grown sharply in recently years.

There is just so much wrong with the above statement. So many mythperceptions that these supposedly intelligent people should know better than to believe (but I keep forgetting that "government intelligence" is an oxymoron). Fat kids don't eat any more or any differently than thin kids (given the same socio-economic standards). Fast food isn't why people are fatter nowadays, it's because some moron decided it would be a good idea to lower the BullshitMI standards 10 years ago. If the standards hadn't been lowered, maybe the Army wouldn't be in the shape it's in now (pun fully intended) since those recruits who are 5 - 20 lbs "overweight" now wouldn't have been 10 years ago.
And excuse me, kids are getting the same amount of exercise now that they have been for the last, oh, 50 years or so. That hasn't changed. What has changed is that kids are getting taller, and taller kids weigh more than shorter kids (that should be common sense, for crying out loud).
"We know that is even going to increase because the [Centers for Disease Control] says the numbers are going to go up," says the Pentagon's Mr. Gilroy.

Mr Gilroy, if you believe everything the CDC has to say about the weight of our population and their projections for whether it's going to increase and by how much, I have some ocean-front property for sale here in MN that you might be interested in buying. The CDC has been known to get it wrong before (300,000 die every year from "obesity" when it's actually less than 30,000, talk about exaggeration, wonder who funded that study?).
It's a big change from 50 years ago, when there was widespread fear that soldiers were "undernourished," says Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
Today, Americans live in an age of super-sized proportions. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average-sized bagel 20 years ago was three inches across and had 140 calories. Today's bagels average twice the size and have about 350 calories.

Gee, Ms Van Horn, could it be that 50 years ago, there wasn't the abundance of food or the money to buy it that there is now? Nah, that couldn't be it, it has to be that we've all decided it's much better to be fat and reviled, so all we do all day long is sit on our asses and stuff our faces. Yeah, I'm sure that's it........fucking not!
As far as the average size of a bagel 20 years ago, I wouldn't have a clue, since I didn't eat bagels back then, and don't eat them now. Just because portions are larger now doesn't mean that everyone partakes of those larger portions (hell, when we eat out, I end up taking at least half of my meal home with me most of the time because I can't eat it all in one sitting). Talk about mythconceptions and mythperceptions. They abound in this article. These people really need to get a clue.


  1. This PowerPoint on eating disorders in the military is also useful, and notes that the emphasis on weight standards in the military may be part of why eating disorders are more common in the military than outside.

  2. Beautiful, vesta. Just beautiful.

    It's funny -- I was thinking, upon reading the first few lines, that the problem would be soldiers being underweight -- like they were trying to bulk up the kids instead of make them lose weight.

    And BullshitMI? Nail. Hammer. Head.

  3. When my husband was in the army, he was part of an experimental program to identify 'overweight' members of the service. Something to do with measuring his neck. Yes, you read that correctly, measuring his neck, then doing a mathematic formula to determine if he was overweight. At 6'2" and 190lbs, he was determined to be overweight. They put him on a diet and made him do more PT to lose 5 lbs. Yup, that much.

    I've seen his old flack jacket from that time. He couldn't fit into it because it's so scrawny. Once he got out of the military, and ate normally again, he ended up bulking up. His natural muscles developed, and his physical strength grew by leaps and bounds.

    You'd think the military would want strong, well fed people to be able to do the things they require (like 20 mile hikes carrying 90 lb backpacks and all). Instead, they take bullshit measures to make people who aren't fat lose weight for no reason.

    Err, yeah, that makes a bunch of sense, doesn't it?


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